"Dracula" by Bram Stoker, Chapters 1–4

A vampire makes his way from Transylvania to England to spread his evil curse, but a small team led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing is prepared to fight him. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–4, Chapters 5–10, Chapters 11–16, Chapters 17–22, Chapters 23–27

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. extreme
    most distant in any direction
    I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe.
  2. prodigious
    great in size, force, extent, or degree
    Then I descended from the side of the coach, as the calèche was close alongside, the driver helping me with a hand which caught my arm in a grip of steel; his strength must have been prodigious.
  3. extraordinary
    highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable
    He petted and soothed them, and whispered something in their ears, as I have heard of horse-tamers doing, and with extraordinary effect, for under his caresses they became quite manageable again, though they still trembled.
  4. obstruct
    shut out from view
    Once there appeared a strange optical effect: when he stood between me and the flame he did not obstruct it, for I could see its ghostly flicker all the same.
  5. imperious
    having or showing arrogant superiority
    How he came there, I know not, but I heard his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, and looking towards the sound, saw him stand in the roadway.
  6. impalpable
    not perceptible to the touch
    As he swept his long arms, as though brushing aside some impalpable obstacle, the wolves fell back and back further still.
  7. clad
    wearing or provided with clothing
    Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere.
  8. intonation
    rise and fall of the voice pitch
    The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent English, but with a strange intonation: “Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!”
  9. impulsive
    characterized by undue haste and lack of thought
    The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed as cold as ice—more like the hand of a dead than a living man.
  10. courteous
    characterized by politeness and gracious good manners
    The light and warmth and the Count’s courteous welcome seemed to have dissipated all my doubts and fears.
  11. graceful
    suggesting taste, ease, and wealth
    My host, who stood on one side of the great fireplace, leaning against the stonework, made a graceful wave of his hand to the table, and said: “I pray you, be seated and sup how you please. You will, I trust, excuse me that I do not join you; but I have dined already, and I do not sup.”
  12. aquiline
    curved down like an eagle's beak
    His face was a strong—a very strong— aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere.
  13. profusion
    the property of being extremely abundant
    His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion.
  14. vitality
    a healthy capacity for vigorous activity
    The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years.
  15. coarse
    lacking refinement or cultivation or taste
    Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine; but seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse—broad, with squat fingers.
  16. canine
    one of the pointed teeth between the incisors and premolars
    The Count smiled, and as his lips ran back over his gums, the long, sharp, canine teeth showed out strangely
  17. saturnine
    bitter or scornful
    Somehow his words and his look did not seem to accord, or else it was that his cast of face made his smile look malignant and saturnine.
  18. salutation
    an acknowledgment or expression of good will
    Having answered the Count’s salutation, I turned to the glass again to see how I had been mistaken.
  19. vein
    a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart
    We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship.
  20. inspire
    serve as the inciting cause of
    Was it not this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that other of his race who in a later age again and again brought his forces over the great river into Turkey-land; who, when he was beaten back, came again, and again, and again, though he had to come alone from the bloody field where his troops were being slaughtered, since he knew that he alone could ultimately triumph!
  21. practical
    concerned with actual use
    He seemed thoroughly to understand, and went on to ask if there would be any practical difficulty in having one man to attend, say, to banking, and another to look after shipping, in case local help were needed in a place far from the home of the banking solicitor.
  22. acumen
    shrewdness shown by keen insight
    For a man who was never in the country, and who did not evidently do much in the way of business, his knowledge and acumen were wonderful.
  23. bearing
    characteristic way of holding one's body
    while Count Dracula was speaking, there was that in his eyes and in his bearing which made me remember that I was a prisoner, and that if I wished it I could have no choice.
  24. gruesome
    shockingly repellent; inspiring horror
    He finished his speech in a gruesome way, for he motioned with his hands as if he were washing them.
  25. repulsion
    intense aversion
    But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings.
  26. grasp
    hold firmly
    I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.
  27. semblance
    an outward appearance that is deliberately misleading
    What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man?
  28. rage
    a feeling of intense anger
    As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant’s power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion.
  29. lurid
    shining with an unnatural red glow
    The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell-fire blazed behind them.
  30. suave
    agreeable and courteous with a degree of sophistication
    Last night the Count asked me in the suavest tones to write three letters, one saying that my work here was nearly done, and that I should start for home within a few days, another that I was starting on the next morning from the time of the letter, and the third that I had left the castle and arrived at Bistritz.
  31. hospitality
    kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
    See!”—he must have looked at it—“one is from you, and to my friend Peter Hawkins; the other”—here he caught sight of the strange symbols as he opened the envelope, and the dark look came into his face, and his eyes blazed wickedly—“the other is a vile thing, an outrage upon friendship and hospitality!
  32. harsh
    disagreeable to the senses
    Somewhere high overhead, probably on the tower, I heard the voice of the Count calling in his harsh, metallic whisper.
  33. pallor
    unnatural lack of color in the skin
    He was either dead or asleep, I could not say which—for the eyes were open and stony, but without the glassiness of death—and the cheeks had the warmth of life through all their pallor; the lips were as red as ever.
  34. diabolical
    extremely evil or cruel
    He smiled, such a soft, smooth, diabolical smile that I knew there was some trick behind his smoothness.
  35. stately
    refined or imposing in manner or appearance
    After a pause of a moment, he proceeded, in his stately way, to the door, drew back the ponderous bolts, unhooked the heavy chains, and began to draw it open.
  36. triumph
    the exultation of victory
    The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me; with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.
  37. repletion
    eating until excessively full
    He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.
  38. mocking
    expressing contempt or ridicule
    There was a mocking smile on the bloated face which seemed to drive me mad.
  39. satiate
    fill to satisfaction
    This was the being I was helping to transfer to London, where, perhaps, for centuries to come he might, amongst its teeming millions, satiate his lust for blood, and create a new and ever-widening circle of semi-demons to batten on the helpless.
  40. malice
    the quality of threatening evil
    The last glimpse I had was of the bloated face, blood-stained and fixed with a grin of malice which would have held its own in the nethermost hell.

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